|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan.15, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-12||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: E 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
Wario Ware: Smooth Moves was my most anticipated game for the Wii other than Zelda. This was going to be the game that would demonstrate to the world how fun the Wii can be and would always be the "king" of my gaming parties. Was I wrong? Not really, but it's so short I can't even believe it's all over!
This title is one of the most fun games I've ever played, with Rayman Ravin' Rabbids following close behind. It made me crack up laughing at the end like never before with a game! I won't tell you why. It just has to do with the kind of situations the game will put you through. Don't think you can just sit and play from the comfort of your couch. Other Wii games may allow you to do so, even when controlled by the motion sensor. With Wario Ware: Smooth Moves, you better do what they tell you or you won't get past level one! Say good bye to your inhibitions.
There is one main character in this story, other than Wario and his allies. It's the Form Baton. That's what they decided to call the Wii-mote. It sounds smooth and it plays smooth. You will learn how to use the Form Baton in many different ways such as the basic remote control, the umbrella (hold it vertically), the handlebar (hold it horizontally with two hands), the mohawk (over your head), the samurai (resting over your hip, as if it was a sword), the sketch artist (like a pencil), etc. There are about 20 of them. They will present one new technique at the beginning of each stage and they will be mixed up in the gameplay.
Wario is back in this game with all of the characters that we got to know in the past Wario Ware installments, such as Mona, who left the pizza world to become a cheerleader, Johnny with his groovy disco moves, 9-Volt with his classic-NES-inspired mini-games, Dribble and Spitz, always driving people around, etc. There are also a couple of new additions that you will like to discover.
At the beginning of the game, Wario is watching his favorite TV show, vegetating like a couch-potato. A couple of mischievous little mice decide to take the chance and steal Wario's food. Wario chases them all the way to the museum where he discovers the precious treasure that it shelters. That is the Form Baton, a.k.a. Wii-mote, allegedly used by our ancestors for all sorts of things. Now it's up to you to get to the end of the story and find out what happens. Don't underestimate the power of the Form Baton because it's all you have.
Like previous Wario Ware games, each level includes a frantic mix of mini-games that you will have to quickly beat before facing the final boss stage. As you know, three to eight seconds is all you need to get through each of the mini-games. Wario Ware: Smooth Moves adds the difficulty of having to switch the way you hold the controller before starting each mini-game. As you learn new techniques, the mix of games and postures will become even crazier. This makes it hilarious, not only for the person who is playing but also for those who are watching. Did you ever expect to see your friend or your mom dancing with an invisible hula hoop or quickly squatting just to hop on to the next game? Well, now you can, but not without putting yourself in the spotlight as well!
When you first start, you can only choose the single player mode. You will need to unlock the multiplayer by beating most of the single player challenges. Every time you beat a level, a couple of new stages will be unlocked and shown in the map, sometimes along with a special mini-game like Tower Tennis, Balloon Trip, Tortoise and Hare, and Block Star. This last one is quite addictive. Blocks will drop from above and you will have to let them fall smoothly over the tray you're holding (Wii-mote) and have them be placed in the appropriate position. In Tower Tennis, you will just keep tapping a tennis ball, hoping to crack the bricks that show up and keep climbing the tower. In Balloon Trip, you'll have to flap your wings (literally) and pick up as many balloons as possible. Tortoise and Hare is probably the weakest part of this Wario Ware game. You will use the Nunchuk. One hand will hold the red flag and the other one will hold the white one. You need to raise or lower whichever one they tell you, but for some reason, the controls are not quick enough to respond, and sometimes too sensitive.
In Wario Ware: Smooth Moves, you will play most of the game with the Form Baton. Not until later you will need the so-called balance rock, which is the Nunchuk attachment. The controls are very responsive if you do exactly what they are asking. The games are well-designed and the way you use the controls is always suitable for the kind of action that the mini-game requires. Everything seems to make sense and, therefore, it's not extremely challenging, but it's still really fun. It probably won't take you more than two hours to unlock the credits and the multiplayer mode, but don't forget to keep playing the couple of new levels added to the map, because those are really amusing as well!
This title doesn't have better graphics than its predecessors. But maybe "better or worse" are not suitable words for describing the graphics of this game. They look as goofy as always, colorful, and two-dimensional, except in a few mini-games where they render a couple of 3D elements that look like they were made in the nineties. You can't judge this game by its graphics. This is one of those examples that support Nintendo's theory that says Fun is what it's all about.
The sounds effects are quite funny and fitting for the kind of humor presented in the game. They never get old, they just contribute to the fast pace of the mini-game challenges and tie everything together so it makes even more sense. Something that made me laugh happened on a mini-game where you have to quickly pick up the phone when it rings. I picked it up and some guy actually talked through the microphone on the Wii-mote. Things like that keep the spark of the game alive. The soundtrack is nothing special but it follows the style of the previous installments of Wario Ware and is just perfect.